An Approach to Early Lifecycle Estimating for Agile Projects

Raymond E Boehm, Pace University


Estimating agile development projects is more similar to estimating traditional projects than many agile practitioners thought, but more different than many traditional project estimators hoped. Agile development is a new variable in existing estimating equations and needs to be incorporated properly. Moreover, the lightly documented agile projects did not seem to lend themselves to the size estimating techniques commonly used in traditional estimating. This dissertation presents a solution to this latter problem. This dissertation describes the Early Lifecycle Functionality Estimating (ELFE) process and the research that led to its development. ELFE provides an estimate of an application’s size, in function points, at a point in the software development lifecycle before function points can usually be counted. It also describes Elf Poker, a collaborative technique to establish the information necessary for ELFE to be used. Elf Poker can be played by the customers of a proposed application and an estimator before the development team is assembled. ELFE and Elf Poker estimate projects that might be done using either a traditional or an agile development approach. However, they are specifically designed for the lean documentation environments that characterize agile software development. The dissertation also describes the state of the practice of both the estimating of software development and agile software development. In addition to providing background, many of the estimating techniques shown can be used with ELFE to generate estimates of development time and effort. The chapter on Composing the ELFE Process explains how ELFE was developed and is useful for anyone attempting to develop other estimating processes. There are several case studies that both illustrate and validate the use of ELFE and Elf Poker. Recommendations for further research are also presented.

Subject Area

Management|Computer science

Recommended Citation

Boehm, Raymond E, "An Approach to Early Lifecycle Estimating for Agile Projects" (2012). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3496372.



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